Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Acapulco Clam Digger

This seems like a logical step in the Bloody Mary variation evolution. Tequila goes very well with Clamato and pepper spices. The little bottle on the table in the photo is what is left of my jalapeno-infused tequila that I used for the drink. This did not replace the Tabasco sauce but augmented it nicely.

I like the size of this Bloody Mary clone. Like the original, it is supposed to be served in a double Old Fashioned glass, but that rarely applies to Bloody Marys these days.
  • 1 1/2 oz. tequila (jalapeno infused tequila used)
  • 3 oz. tomato juice
  • 3 oz. clam juice
  • horseradish
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • Worchestershire sauce to taste
  • slice of lemon or lime
Combine tequila, tomato juice, clam juice, sauces and horseradish in a double Old Fashioned glass with ice. Stir and garnish with fruit slice. (Note: 6 oz. of Clamato may be used in place of tomato and clam juice.)

Hot & Dirty Martini

I used to make these about a decade ago with habanero-stuffed olives. It was really hot! One bite of the olive was enough to keep your mouth burning for minutes. It was almost unpleasant...almost. This cocktail uses more pepper in the vodka, which means that it is more balanced. Absolut Peppar is always a good choice.

For myself, I used red chili infused vodka I made by soaking a single pepper in two cups of vodka for about three days. This infusion was so hot that I made the cocktail with 2 1/2 ounces of 100-proof vodka and 1/2 ounce of chili pepper infused vodka. Though the recipe doesn't call for it, I rimmed half the glass with black pepper and ground red chili pepper. (Combine pepper, kosher salt, and chili pepper in a dish) and a big red chili pepper for a garnish. It was beautiful.

The other addition I made was Tipsy Olives and their vermouth brine. Rather than use 1/2 oz. of vermouth and 1/2 oz. olive brine, I just used 1 ounce of Tipsy Olive vermouth brine. It was super easy and very good.
  • 3 oz. pepper vodka (2 1/2 oz. vodka and 1/2 oz. chili infused vodka)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. olive brine
  • hot pepper stuffed olives
  • optional pepper rim
Combine vodka, vermouth and brine in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (with optional pepper rim). Garnish with olives. 

Bloody Caesar

The Caesar or Bloody Caesar was invented in Alberta, Canada by a bartender named Walter Chell. It was the popular signature drink of his Italian restaurant when it opened and became extremely popular in Canada.

Canadians love their clam broth and their spicy cocktails (see Canadian Dog's Nose), so it makes sense that this drink is a clammy Bloody Mary variation. They prefer Clamato for its combination of tomato and clam juices. The other interesting thing is the rimming of the glass with celery salt and the addition of celery seeds in the drink. This makes the drink very fragrant.

To make the celery salt rim, put three tablespoons of kosher salt and three of celery seed in a shallow dish or bowl and combine them evenly by stirring. Wet the rim of the glass with the cut side of a lemon or lime and press the wet rim into the salt mixture. Then follow these steps for a single serving Caesar.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 6 oz. Clamato
  • 2 dashes hot sauce
  • 4 dashes Worchestershire sauce
  • lime wedge
  • celery salt
  • celery stalk
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass rimmed with celery salt. Garnish with celery and lime wedge. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Cold and Clammy Bloody Mary

This Bloody Mary variation makes use of Clamato, a mix of tomato and clam juices to make an easy change to drink recipes. There's also a tasty addition of a green onion shoot that is fun to smell and nip at as you drink.

I found this drink surprisingly refreshing on a hot day, and it turns out that Clamato is very good for replacing electrolytes that are lost from sweating and drinking. Who knew that a drink could provide its own remedy to the intoxication you get from it!
  • 2 oz. vodka 
  • 6 oz. Clamato juice
  • 1/2 tsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
  • several dashes Tabasco sauce
  • several pinches of ground pepper 
  • salt for rim
  • green onion stem
Combine liquid ingredients and black pepper in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a chilled highball glass rimmed with salt. Add green onion stem.

Rum Fix

Good rum doesn't need much to fix it. What I had to fix was the fact that I had no gold rum. But since gold rum is just white and dark rum that's blended together. So I went half-and-half with Plantation 3-Stars white rum and Lyon Dark Rum. This was a good choice and one that made a richly sugary and caramel rum drink served long and cold.

Not much lemon juice or sugar is used to balance the drink, so it relies on water and lots of ice to swizzle the three ounces of liquor, chilling and diluting the cocktail. And like a swizzle this is done by stirring. Here's how.
  • 2 oz. gold rum
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 oz. water
  • maraschino cherry
  • lemon slice
Combine rum, lemon juice and sugar in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice. Add rum and stir well until chilled. Garnish with cherry and lemon slice.  

Connemara Clammer (Cocktail Na Mara)

Connemara is a seaside region of western Ireland known for its picturesque seascapes and rolling hills. It is a region, not a county, because it is loosely defined by geographical features and local culture. And part of that culture is clamming and eating clams.

Clam juice is a perfect addition to Irish whiskey. It's salt brine and soft watery texture match perfectly to the spicy sweetness of Irish whiskey. Besides clam juice and and whiskey, the Connemara Clammer does not have Tabasco or hot sauce. It is spicy with horseradish and black pepper, but not hot.

The recipe doesn't call for olives, but Tipsy Olives were a perfect briny match for this drink. You don't really notice the whiskey, but you enjoy the clamminess. So when I bit into an olive, it was so well paired that I swooned. It was that good. I got chills like I was taking in a beautiful seaside view and scenting the briny air.

Connemara Clammer
The first variation of this drink is the Clammer. This is a drink served neat in a large and low double Old Fashioned glass. It isn't spicy so much as briny and thick. I like how horseradish and clam juice pair with sweet whiskey.
  • 2 oz. Irish whiskey 
  • 2 oz. clam juice
  • 3 oz. tomato juice or V-8
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • several dashes Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. horseraddish
  • several pinches of freshly ground black or white pepper
 Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled double Old Fashioned glass.

Cocktail Na Mara
Connemara means "by the sea." So this drink is the "cocktail by the sea." It is served long and on the rocks (see photo above) and it has lemon juice and Tobasco sauce, unlike the Clammer version. In most respects they are pretty much the same drink, though.
  • 2 oz. Irish whiskey
  • 2 oz. clam juice
  • 4 oz. tomato juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • several dashes Worchestershire sauce
  • dash Tobasco sauce
  • pinch white pepper
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Pour into a chilled highball glass. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Chinese Cocktail

For some reason any cocktails associated with China have to be made with dark rum. I'm referring to the Shanghai Cocktail, which is exotic with wormwood notes and spice. Both also have a nice helping of grenadine, which ensures that they are the obligatory red color to signify China.

I have to say that while these drinks have little to do with Chinese ingredients (which would be difficult to do in practice) this one comes closer to authentic Chinese flavors. The sweetness and ginger, clove, vanilla, and cinnamon spices that come from the spiced rum I used and also a healthy dose of Hella aromatic bitters give the drink a flavor similar to Chinese berry spice ice cream--which is surely an American invention but at least made with Chinese spices and enjoyed at Chinese restaurants. This is definitely a dessert drink, with a tablespoon of grenadine, there's no other time to enjoy this drink.
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 tbsp. grenadine
  • 3-5 dashes of curaco
  •  3-5 dashes maraschino liqueur
  •  dash of Angostura bitters (Hella aromatic used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Fair And Warmer

Looking to replace your Manhattan with a more summery drink? Look no farther than the Fair And Warmer. A good and richly flavored white rum like Plantation 3 Stars is aged and can hold its own against most whiskies. It has a strong vanilla and sugar cane notes. Add to that a healthy portion of Carpano Antica Formula vermouth and a few dashes of white curacao and you have a milder tropical version of a Manhattan.
  • 2 oz white rum (Plantation 3 Stars used)
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Antica Formula used)
  • several dashes white curacao
  • lemon twist
Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist. 


Not the bird as much as the the bright red-robed Catholic clergy. The Cardinal is one of the class of Monkish drinks that have nothing in common except for their related names (Sanctuary, Abby, Cloister, Bishop, etc.) This one is very different in that it is the only one of these drinks with amaretto in it.

I can't say enough good things about this drink. It has that great combination of lime juice and triple sec and enough white rum to make it tropical, but amaretto makes it fit into that class of drinks like the Cloister that make use of richly flavored Central European liqueurs. Lazzaroni is very classic amaretto with an angelic marzipan cookie flavor that you really notice in this drink.
  • 2 oz. white rum
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. amaretto
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • lime slice
Combine all ingredients except lime slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime slice.

Casa Blanca

"We'll always have Paris." That's what I think about when I make this drink. It's very European, with Luxardo maraschino liqueur and triple sec, but there's this North African flavor of lime and a rich white rum. This drink would do Bogart proud, and a coupe glass makes it look like something that would be served at Rick's American Bar in Paris.
  • 2 oz. white rum (Plantation 3 Stars used)
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ice Pick

Named after the bar tool fabled to be the perfect murder weapon and other such dated nonsense, the Ice Pick is one of those inevitable cocktails that results from having two perfectly mixable ingredients that feel a little incomplete by themselves. When do you see someone having iced tea without a slice of lemon, or a glass of vodka without some juice or an olive? Never. So the Ice Pick really is a brute tool that brings together iced tea and vodka, which is, incidentally, a great way to disguise your drinking during a lunch meeting.

Try using an unusual black tea if you want to class this drink up a bit. Here I have Republic Of Tea's Golden Yunan tea. The gold color leaves change to red-brown when they are steeped and the tea is rich and malty, not nearly as bitter as most bargain iced tea brands. Steep the tea in near boiling water and allow it to cool (refrigerate for a half hour if necessary). The mix to your hearts content.

The original recipe calls for a slice of lime squeezed into the glass. But that is taking into account that this recipe predates the 80s' and fine tea shops in the U.S. Iced tea continues to be made with horrendous blends of poor quality tea. Nowadays, if you use a good tea, you don't want to cover it up with citrus. I found that two  lemon wheel slices shoved down into the glass give plenty of flavor without detracting from quality iced tea that I chose. When you use cheap ingredients, I guess you have to do what you have to do to make up for your bad decisions. Good tea at least prevents you from turning this drink into a bad decision.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • iced tea
  • 2 lemon wheel slices
Pour vodka in a highball glass full of ice. Top with tea and garnish with lemon wheels by shoving them down into the glass. 

Curacao Cooler

With tropical plants in the background and a huge orange slice in the foreground, this Curacao Cooler is exactly what you need to relax with in the sun. The drink gets its name from the rum-producing Caribbean island of Curacao, but it also is flavored with a hearty dose of the bitter orange liqueur, white Curacao.

Curacao the liqueur is used to add interest to many tropical drinks. It is light in alcohol and sugary, so it replaces the need to use sugar or syrup to make a drink with it. It also blends very well and takes the unpleasant edges off of hard liquor. It rounds out citrus and adds complexity without being overly noticeable.  It's a good way to go when it comes to bitter orange and spicy rum cocktails and punches.
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 1/2 oz. white curacao
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • sparkling water
  • orange slice
Combine juice and spirits in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and garnish with the orange slice. 

Boston Sidecar

A Sidecar is a brandy or cognac up drink that's flavored with lemon juice and sugar. The Boston version simply replaces some of the cognac with white rum. This is done for the same reason that the Boston Cooler is a rum cocktail--Boston must have been a rum capital of the new world. It is a little lighter and more appropriate for warm-weather drinking than the original Sidecar. Interestingly, there's no sugar added except for the triple sec, so it is very tart and cooling.
  • 1 1/2 oz. white rum
  • 1/2 oz. brandy or cognac
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Boston Cooler

It's a good time of year for a rum cooler. The Boston Cooler is really a fine and simple thing. My speculation is that the drink is considered a Boston cocktail because of the city's colonial rum drinking heritage. This is pretty much the same thing as a Rum Collins, but the specification of light rum makes all the difference, I guess.
  • 2 oz. white rum
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • sparkling water
  • lemon twist
Combine rum, juice and sugar in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass full of fresh ice. top with sparkling water and garnish with the twist.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


This is another one of those drinks that is arguably not a cocktail at all, but it is still a mixed drink. A weak one at that. The Spritzer is a summer wine and soda drink when a glass of wine would be too much. It is mostly for people who don't feel like drinking, but would like a taste of wine in a refreshing soda cocktail. You can drink these all day, if that's the kind of thing you like to do.

The Spritzer does what a cocktail is meant to do, however: it spreads out the expensive alcohol with other additives. Soda makes your wine choice like champagne, and you still get to have the experience of drinking an elegant-looking drink from a wine glass with half the alcohol. So go ahead, make a Spritzer with your best white or red, or go cheap. It doesn't matter. No one's getting drunk today anyway.
  • 6 oz. red or white wine
  • club soda
  • lemon twist
  Pour wine over ice in a wine goblet (stemless shown) and fill with soda. Garnish with twist.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bourbon And Branch

My first thought about this recipe was that it wasn't a cocktail. Bourbon and bottled water do not really make a mixed drink. They just make for watered down bourbon. It sounds like a pretty bad idea, so bad and so not worth my time that it doesn't belong on my blog. But I was wrong.

This is a drink for rustic times. I was staying in a cabin in the mountains and only brought with me a bottle of bourbon and bottled water. Knowing of this cocktail, I considered making it just to say I did it. I got the feeling that I wouldn't like it much, so I went over the recipe (what little of it there is) to make sure I didn't miss something crucial. I didn't.

What I didn't realize is that when you are in the mountains with only a bottle of water and a bottle of bourbon, it should be natural to mix the two. And when you are in the mountains and it is pushing 90 degrees, you should stay hydrated when you are drinking. This drink just makes sure that you do.

With so much bourbon in the glass, you have no trouble making sure that it is strong enough for you, but the water makes it palatable on a hot day. Yes, you get pretty drunk while staying cool and using only two basic ingredients. It's not roughing it, but it is close.

Whoever figured this drink out loves their bourbon and knows that it doesn't make sense to drink it neat on a hot day. Not when you have bottled water on hand.
  • 3 oz. (or 1/2 cup) bourbon
  • 2 oz. bottled water
Pour into a highball glass full of ice.

The NY Bartenders Guide also says this drink can be done in a warm cocktail glass without chilling the ingredients. I will pass on that one, but feel free to try it. I've already been proven wrong. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sloe Gin Rickey

You knew it was coming after the Rickey, the Whiskey Rickey, the Kirsh Rickey, and Hugo Rickey, there had to be a Sloe Gin Rickey out there somewhere. It's just too good of an idea to pass up. Like all Rickey's this one has no sugar added, but still manages to be a sweet drink from the sloe gin, which is sweeter than dry gin. It also has a great red color like the Hugo Rickey and is an easy drink to make for the summer.

Finally, more than any other sloe gin drink, it has that memorable flavor of the Icee slush that we all had as kids. It really takes you back to that trip to the amusement park or the zoo and that wild logo
on the side of the Icee truck.

  •  2 oz. sloe gin
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • club soda
  • lime slice
Build drink in a Collins glass full of ice with sloe gin and lime juice. Top with club soda and stir. Add lime slice for garnish.

Peyton Place

Peyton Place was a sixties soap opera based on the novel of the same name by Grace Metalious. I gather that the black and white and subsequently color series was a little racy but was pretty tame by today's standards. The same may be said for this drink.

While it uses sloe gin and dry gin for its alcohol, so much grapefruit juice pretty much makes it a fruity sparkler. Very entertaining, but not too dangerous. I recommend omitting the simple syrup, because the drink is sweet enough without it.
  • 1 1/2 oz. sloe gin
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 3 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup 
  • club soda
  • grapefruit slice (optional)

Combine all ingredients except soda in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with club soda and garnish with grapefruit slice.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Independence Swizzle

I really enjoy a good swizzle, and this is one of the best ones. I chose (because I had a choice today) Lyon dark rum to represent the colony of Maryland for the American independence and three patriotic swizzle sticks, which are a must when serving a swizzle.

Among other adjustments to the drink, I crushed ice by hand in my shaker using a muddler, which gives you large and small ice chunks to mix the drink with. You can see how the small crushed flakes float to the top. These hold the flavor of the bitters very well, though you can't see that because I used Hella Aromatic Bitters. These have no obvious pink color like Angostura bitters do. The do go very well with rum, though, with their clove spice that makes the rum taste like a spiced rum.
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 3-5 dashes Angostura bitters
  • lime slice
Dissolve honey in a Collins glass with a splash of warm water by stirring until the honey and water are evenly mixed. Fill the glass with liquid ingredients and crushed ice and stir quickly until glass frosts over. Add more ice and stir briefly before garnishing with a lime slice.

Havana Cocktail

This is a fairly uninspired cocktail, but an enjoyable one for all that. It's easy to throw together pineapple juice and rum in a glass, even a cocktail glass. Even so, everyone who has done this (in college) finds that it is an easy-drinking combination. Lemon juice gives the cocktail a little bite and the pineapple juice has all the sweetness that it needs to balance the sourness. Shaken, the pineapple juice turns into a nice foam on top, which makes for a fun and tropical texture that sells the cocktail as a Havana favorite.
  • 2 oz. light rum (Bacardi Silver used)
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Havana Club

Very simple and easily concocted, the Havana Club is one drink that swings between incredibly rich and delicious or pretty insufferable. This has everything to do with the quality of rum and vermouth that you use. A cheap rum and awful vermouth will make the drink taste cheap and awful, because there's nothing else in the cocktail but rum and vermouth. But good quality and flavorful rum and a fine dry vermouth make it as good as any stirred, high-end Martini.

Drinking Plantation 3 Stars is the first time I've tried a white rum that tastes like something other than rubbing alcohol. There's a real sugar cane flavor in it, and an aged oakiness that I really like. The amount of vermouth is small enough that it doesn't affect the balance of the cocktail at all.
  • 3 oz. light rum (Plantation 3 Stars)
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Mancino used)
Combine rum and vermouth in a mixing glass full of ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Eye Of The Hurricane (Non-Alcoholic)

The eye of a hurricane is the calm center, so it is an appropriate name for the non-alcoholic version of the famous Hurricane. But minus the alcohol, there's little the drink has in common with its stronger twin. Passion fruit syrup seems to tie them both together, and that is noticeable, but this drink has fizz. Not just any fizz, flavored soda. The recipe calls for bitter lemon soda, but I thought cherry and lime soda would be even better since the drink already has lime flavor and the cherry just makes its presence known.
  • 2 oz. passion fruit syrup
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • bitter lemon soda
  • lime slice
Combine juice and syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a chilled highball glass. Garnish with lime slice.

Mermaid's Song and Tropical Storm (Non-Alcoholic)

Today I'm posting two non-alcoholic drinks as part of my new interest in virgin cocktails. Virgin drinks are really becoming popular at restaurants where they can be served to kids or pregnant mothers, and still be high quality cocktails. They also include the drinker in the fun of having something special from the restaurant, not just a bottled soda or juice. Both of these drinks use passion fruit juice, which makes them very tropical. With just small differences in their proportions, they are very similar, so they get one posting. If you have all the ingredients for one, you can do the other.

Mermaid's Song (Left)
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. passion fruit juice
  • 1 oz. coconut milk
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • maraschino cherry
Combine all ingredients except cherry in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled white wine glass. Garnish with the cherry.

Tropical Storm 
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. passion fruit syrup (made from juice)
  • 1/2 tsp. orgeat (almond) syrup    
  • pineapple spear (optional)
 Combine all ingredients in a highball glass full of ice and stir. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016


The Morro is deliciously rich and well-balanced. I appreciate the idea of glazing the rim of the glass with sugar, because there isn't much in the drink itself to balance the citrus. But there's not much citrus and a lot of rum, which loves sugar too. I chose Bluecoat Barrel Reserve gin for this drink because it is a "dark" gin to go with a dark rum.
  • 2 oz. gin (Bluecoat Barrel Reserve used)
  • 1 oz. dark rum (Lyon dark rum used)
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an Old Fashioned glass with a sugar coated rim. Add ice, or a large ice ball as shown.


If you ever get to thinking that one eggnog is the same as another, try the Eye-Opener. All I could think about was how this egg cocktail was so similar in flavor to those Italian anise Christmas cookies. The drink itself was velvety smooth and rich and the wormwood notes of absinthe just made it a great treat for any time of the year.

The name, though, suggests that it was intended to be used as a breakfast drink, which I can appreciate. It certainly seems more appropriate than a Mimosa, which is just juice and champagne and really pretty weak as far as breakfast drinks go. I mean this drink has the protein of an egg in it and a healthy belt of rum. So I can see it as a hangover cure. But for all that, it was delicious and a great dessert too. I really can't say enough good things about a drink that uses egg yolk to good effect like the Eye-Opener does.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1 tsp. Pernod (Absente Refined used)
  • 1 tsp. white creme de cacao
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
Shake all ingredients in a shaker until the egg is frothy. Add ice and shake again until chilled. Strain into a sour glass. 

Frozen Berkley

From the look of the recipe, this drink looks like a good idea. But a good idea doesn't always translate into a good drink. I feel that a lot of rich flavor is lost in frozen cocktails, and this is the case with this one. A quality rum and brandy, and passion fruit syrup just don't stand out enough against the cold lime juice. But without the icy slush, it is just a Passionate Daiquiri made with a little brandy. So do this drink if you want a frozen daiquiri and happen to have the ingredients, or not. I won't recommend it.
  • 2 oz. light rum
  • 1/2 oz. brandy
  • 1 tbsp. passion fruit syrup
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
Blend all ingredients with ice in a blender until slushy. Pour into a chilled champagne flute. (Says it makes one drink, but it will probably be two.)

The Purple Heather

The lyrics of Rod Stewart's Scottish Pride song go, "Well the summer time has gone/ and the leaves are swiftly turning/ and the wild mountain thyme grows along the purple heather/ will you go?"

While this drink predates the song, it is an appropriate homage to the flower that gives scotch it's floral bouquet. I could go on about how rainwater flows over the mountainsides covered with the dense ground plant, or how streams along peat bogs pick up herbal scents, but that's not what this drink is really about. It is about the color purple.

Creme de cassis, a good one, make for a delightful berry scotch cooler for the end of summer. It's neither too rich nor too strong, and though Johnny Walker Red is known for it's bite, it was really subdued in this drink. That means if you want to use a single malt (and I suggest a Speyside or north Highland malt like Dalmore or Glenmorangie) then go for it. It will only improve the cocktail.
  • 1 1/2 oz. scotch
  • 1/2 oz. creme de cassis
  • club soda
Combine scotch and creme de cassis in a highball glass with ice. Add soda and stir gently.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Pimm's Cup

This is one of those good morning or early afternoon drinks that will leave you feeling refreshed on a hot day, and not all that dizzy. Pimm's #1 is a British gin liqueur with herbs, fruit and spices, and is not unlike sloe gin except that it is somewhat more bitter. All of these herbal flavors play well with citrus fruit peels and cucumber, like some kind of salad combo of a drink. That's what I think makes the Pimm's Cup the thing that it is. 20% ABV in the liquor means you can drink them all day and maintain a pleasant buzz. Makes me want to go punting on the Thames.
  • 2 oz. Pimm's #1
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • lemon lime soda (i.e. Sprite)
  • 2 cucumber slices
  • lime wedge
  • mint sprig
Combine all liquid ingredients in a highball glass with ice. Stir and add more ice. Top with Sprite and garnish with mint sprig, lime wedge and cucumber slices (push cucumber down into the glass.)

Moscow Mule (Monin Raspberry Syrup)

I rarely make a drink simply to use a store-bought syrup, but the Monin products I've used so far have me feeling confident that even a small addition, like raspberry syrup, can change a classic just enough to make it worth a whole post. I don't have a Mule Cup (designed by Smirnoff ages ago and proliferating again now in the cocktail scene), so just do it with whatever jar or mug you have on hand. The syrup is diluted by the ginger beer, so you only notice the flavor of the berries, not the color.
  • 3 oz. vodka
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. raspberry syrup (Monin used)
  • ginger beer
  • lime wedge
Pour vodka, lime juice and raspberry syrup into a mug full of ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with the lime wedge.


This is an intriguing egg white and gin flip sort of drink. At first the recipe reminded me of the Belmont, with gin, raspberry syrup and half-and-half. But it really takes on a different character when served neat on an Old Fashioned glass and made with the thickness of egg white.

For this recipe, I chose to go with store-bought raspberry syrup for convenience. And this was fine, though homemade had a richer color and flavor. I also chose to use Tanqueray Rangpur, the gin with the strong flavor or rangpur limes. I think of it as the South Asian counterpart to Bombay Sapphire's East. Chanticleer is a good drink for after dinner or for the holiday season, but it is light and bright enough to enjoy in the summer as well.
  • 2 oz. dry gin (Tanqueray Rangpur used)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp. raspberry syrup
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake until egg white becomes frothy. Add ice and shake again until chilled. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass.

Modern #1

Ever since I made the Modern #2, I've been looking for a good Modern #1 recipe. The problem is that this is very much a sloe gin cocktail, not a scotch or rum one. This makes it significantly wetter and juicy. Hella orange bitters helped dry the flavor out and give it some complexity. Interestingly, I found myself relishing the plum and absinthe flavor that rises from this drink and that the bitters help along. Another interesting point was how well Johnnie Walker Red Label blended with the flavors, only appearing mid sip and almost unnoticably. I recommend trying this with more peaty single malts for more spice or a softer blend for something silkier.
  • 1 1/2 oz. sloe gin
  • 3/4 oz. scotch
  • several dashes triple sec
  • several dashes Pernod
  • several dashes orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain over fresh ice in an Old Fashioned glass. 

Slow Comfortable Screw Against A Wall

What happens when you combine a Slow Screw, Southern Comfort, and a Harvey Wallbanger. You guessed it! This is the famous (infamous) 90s sexual innuendo drink. Like the Harvey Wallbanger itself, it has aged pretty well. Galliano makes for a vanilla smooth and alluring anise flavor, while vodka and orange juice do what they do best--make a drink easy to consume.
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. Southern Comfort
  • 1/2 oz. sloe gin
  • 1/2 oz. Galliano
  • orange juice
  • orange slice
Combine all ingredients except sloe gin and orange slice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass (pilsner shown). Float sloe gin on top and garnish with orange slice.

Okakura Kakuzo (Non-Alcoholic)

This is a very complex non-alcoholic cocktail, both in its preparation and its flavor profile. The idea came to me when I had to make a cocktail pairing for a chef's table. After running through the few non-alcoholic drinks I've made for this blog, I had to start innovating on the spot.

I ran up to the restaurant's kitchen and scoured the shelves for interesting ingredients. I came away with matcha powder and orange blossom water. I've seen matcha used in citrus drinks, but you need sugar to make a suspension. I used pear puree for that, and lime juice for the citrus. The restaurant makes a nice lemongrass and ginger simple syrup, so I used that for sweetener.

The trick was stirring the drink without ice, like doing a dry shake but it was a dry stir. This made sure the matcha didn't clump and get muddy. Once everything was mixed evenly, I could shake. A lemon twist and orange blossom water drizzled on a large-format ice cube topped off the whole thing.

The drink is very Asian tasting. Pear puree and lime sweetened with lemongrass and ginger will do that, but the tea flavor was very noticeable. It was bitter and grassy with sweet and sour and floral notes. And it should be, there's a whole tea cup worth of matcha in there! It's a fitting homage to the namesake Japanese tea master.
  • 2 oz. pear puree
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemongrass ginger simple syrup (sugar dissolved in boiling water and flavored with ginger and lemongrass.)
  • 1 tsp. matcha powder
  • lemon twist
  • dash orange blossom water
Combine pear puree, lime juice, simple syrup and matcha in a shaker and stir until evenly suspended. Add ice and shake. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with fresh ice (large format) and garnish with lemon twist. add drops of orange blossom water to ice.